New Mexico’s Race for Governor
Michelle Lujan Grisham will be the next governor of New Mexico.
Democrat Lujan Grisham has been leading the way all night in the race to become New Mexico’s 32nd governor.
For the first time ever in New Mexico, two sitting U.S. Representatives left their seats to run for the state’s highest office, looking to replace Gov. Susana Martinez.
Currently Lujan Grisham is a solid 12 points ahead of Republican Steve Pearce.
The Democratic Party’s Election Night headquarters at Hotel Albuquerque was packed Tuesday night with people waiting to hear if Rep. Lujan Grisham will be elected the next governor of New Mexico.
Rep. Lujan Grisham has spent more than $9 million toward her campaign for governor, and if Lujan Grisham wins Tuesday night she’ll be the first Latina Democratic governor, replacing Gov. Susana Martinez who was the first Latina Republican governor.
Meanwhile, Steve Pearce’s supporters gathered at the Hotel Crown Plaza, hoping to pull off a win.
This has been a close race — closer than some expected with many voters saying they want change from what’s going on in Washington with a Republican majority.
Still, Pearce has remained a strong contender, with many polls just a few weeks ago showing him in a dead heat with Lujan Grisham.
With the race so tight, Pearce did bring in support from Washington, securing a visit from Vice President Mike Pence.
Congressional District Two
Who will fill Steve Pearce’s vacated House seat was one of the most watched races in the country Tuesday night.
The race for U.S. House District 2 representing New Mexico is still not officially called as of Wednesday morning.
Democrat Xochitl Torres Small says she’s not conceding because not all votes in Dona Ana County have been recounted.
The latest results show Republican Yvette Herrell leading this race with 94,429 votes while Torres Small has 92,454 votes.
Torres Small claims about 8,000 votes still need to be counted in Dona Ana County so she’s not calling the race yet.
Torres Small is a water rights attorney from Las Cruces and a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Tom Udall. If she wins, this will be her first go-round in a political office.
Herrell is confident with her lead.
A couple hundred people gathered to support Herrell’s campaign in Alamogordo.
Herrell has been a state rep for Alamogordo and Otero County for the last eight years, calling herself “pro-God, pro-gun, pro-life, and pro-business.”
A win for her Tuesday night would guarantee at least 12 years of Republican control on this seat, but the Democrats have run a close campaign.
Dona Ana County says it will begin counting again at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Officials say around 4,000 ballots need to be counted.
Race for Senate
Martine Heinrich will serve a second term representing New Mexico in the U.S. Senate. The Democrat easily got more than 50 percent of the vote in a three-way race.
Heinrich defeated Republican Mick Rich and Libertarian and two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.
This is a seat the Democrats really wanted to hold on to, and it appears they will. This is Heinrich’s first reelection campaign as a U.S. Senator.
Despite having a former New Mexico governor as one of his opponents, voters are favoring Heinrich’s platform on healthcare, the economy, and immigration.
Meanwhile, Johnson says this will be his last campaign after he lost what he thought would be a successful run.
Johnson represented the Libertarian Party’s best chance to date at winning its first Senate seat.
His small government philosophy and advocacy for marijuana appears to have not resonated with voters, but there’s no question he added plenty of charisma to this race — an attitude he maintained Tuesday night despite his loss.
Congressional District One
Another race called early Tuesday night was the Congressional District 1 seat, which Michelle Lujan Grisham is vacating. That race was between former Democratic Party Chair Deb Haaland and Republican Janice Arnold Jones.
There was a lot of excitement at the Democratic watch party as Deb Haaland reached her goal of becoming one of the first Native American U.S. Congresswomen.
Haaland took an early lead over Arnold Jones. Unofficial numbers show her with a 23 point advantage over Arnold Jones. Her Republican opponent recently faced some criticism after an appearance on Fox News, saying Haaland’s campaign evokes images that she was raised on a reservation but that she and Haaland are both military brats.
Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo.
Her supporters were emotional when she won the primary vote back in June.
Haaland is the former chair of the state’s Democratic Party, and before that she ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2014 alongside Gary King’s gubernatorial campaign.
Haaland was endorsed by President Barack Obama.